Here’s what is going on in the House.
House Republicans have turned their ire toward Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) following his successful bid to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the position of Speaker. Gaetz’s actions have been met with sharp criticism within his party, as he joined forces with Democrats to oust the GOP leader and engaged in personal attacks against him.
According to The Hill, this situation has prompted at least two GOP lawmakers to suggest that Gaetz should be expelled from the House Republican Conference. Although this outcome seems unlikely, it underscores the frustration and anger that many party members feel toward Gaetz.
These tensions have arisen as the House GOP conference is forced to restart the process of electing a new Speaker due to the approaching November 17 funding deadline and a government shutdown looming.
House Republicans are expressing their dissatisfaction, with Gaetz receiving a significant share of the blame. Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), a close ally of McCarthy, criticized Gaetz, saying he was manipulated into his actions by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others, describing the move as detrimental to the party.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.) referred to Gaetz’s effort as a “great act of heresy” that had damaged a longstanding institution for personal gain.
McCarthy himself characterized Gaetz’s actions as “personal” and driven by a desire for attention from the media.
In a historic vote, the House removed McCarthy from the Speakership, ending his nearly nine-month tenure. Eight Republicans, led by Gaetz, voted alongside Democrats to achieve this, marking the first successful “motion to vacate the chair” since 1910.
McCarthy subsequently announced that he would not seek the position of Speaker again, prompting a scramble within the GOP to determine his successor. In the interim, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) was named Speaker pro tempore, but legislative business cannot proceed until a new Speaker is chosen.
Immediately following the vote, Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) suggested that Gaetz should be removed from the House GOP conference, questioning his alignment with the party. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) echoed this sentiment, even considering a motion to expel Gaetz.
However, expelling Gaetz from the House GOP conference would require a two-thirds majority vote, and some members questioned whether he had violated any rules.
Gaetz, in response to the criticism, downplayed it and dismissed calls for his expulsion. He described the comments from his fellow Republicans as stemming from frustration.
Furthermore, Gaetz faced criticism within the party for fundraising based on his efforts to remove McCarthy, with some members condemning his actions as capitalizing on a “manufactured crisis.”
These developments have left the House at a standstill, with legislative business, including the appropriations process, unable to proceed until a new Speaker is elected. Lawmakers are growing increasingly concerned as they race against the clock to fund the government before the impending shutdown deadline.